In a bid to reduce reliance on foreign technologies, several Chinese agencies and state-backed companies have recently instructed their employees to refrain from bringing Apple iPhones and other foreign devices to work. This move comes as part of China’s long-standing effort to promote local software and domestic semiconductor chip manufacturing. The Bloomberg News report reveals that multiple government departments and state firms from eight provinces have implemented these measures, urging employees to use local brands instead.
Increasing Trend Across the Country
This shift towards domestic brands is not limited to a few regions but is being observed across the country. In addition to the more prominent firms and governmental bodies in major cities, smaller companies and agencies in lower-tier cities from provinces like Zhejiang, Shandong, Liaoning, and central Hebei have also implemented similar directives. It is worth noting that the central Hebei province houses the world’s largest iPhone factory, making this move particularly significant.
When approached for a comment, Apple did not immediately respond. However, this is not the first time reports have surfaced regarding Chinese ministries and government bodies instructing their staff to avoid using iPhones at work. Reuters had previously reported similar instances in September. As a result of these developments, it remains to be seen how Apple will navigate its relationship with China and potentially adjust its strategies accordingly.
Interestingly, Apple has been steadily moving its production away from China. A recent report revealed the company’s plans to allocate product development resources for the iPad to Vietnam. This initiative includes working with China’s BYD, a major iPad assembler, to transfer new product introduction resources to Vietnam. The report suggests that the second half of next year will see the availability of an iPad model produced through this new arrangement.
Analysts have noted that the iPhone 15 series has not performed as well in China as its predecessor. Counterpoint Research reported a 4.5 percent decline in iPhone 15 sales compared to the iPhone 14 in the first 17 days after its market launch. Against this backdrop, Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo and Taobao have been offering significant discounts on the latest iPhone models, with some prices even undercutting the official retail prices by CNY 900 ($123 or roughly Rs. 10,229).
China’s push to reduce dependency on foreign technologies continues as more state firms and government departments discourage the use of Apple iPhones and foreign devices in the workplace. This shift towards domestic brands sends a clear message about China’s prioritization of local software and semiconductor chip manufacturing. As Apple faces challenges within the Chinese market and seeks to diversify its production footprint, the future of the company’s relationship with China remains uncertain. With iPhone sales facing a decline in China, Apple will undoubtedly need to explore strategies to regain its foothold in this crucial market.